Have you ever admired a bit of homeschooling life even though your children are in a full-time school program? Or maybe you’ve considered homeschooling but are afraid it’s more than you can handle. No matter how you choose to school, I thought I’d share some ways that any parent can bring in a little bit of the beauty of homeschooling into their regular family life.
Read great literature
I think the most fruitful gift we can give our children is reading to them great books. Not just whatever is popular in the Scholastic book catalog, but truly classic literature. We spend a lot of time reading aloud together- all three of my children hear the same literature (ages 10, 8, 5) during our homeschool morning. I like to choose our free reads from the free booklists available on Ambleside Online (A free Charlotte Mason curriculum that is loaded with great works of literature for all ages), and The Good and The Beautiful. For older children who are good readers, it can be fun to pick out a few from a list of classics and make a trip to the library or Barnes and Noble to decide what one they want to start with.
My oldest son has enjoyed reading The Hobbit and the original Robin Hood this school year. My middle son is enjoyed hearing All of A Kind Family this year and Understood Betsy last year. Pippy Longstocking and Children of Noisy Village both by Astrid Lindgren were also memorable re-alouds. Maybe start reading a classic together for fun at the weekend breakfast table, or have tea time in the afternoon with some snacks and warm beverages to make it special. Or after dinner and before bed. You probably already have some reading time together already- consider adding in some classic books to your time together and see how they enjoy it!
Time for Nature Hikes
My kids love getting out to explore a new park or go hiking. The enjoy collecting items to display at home in our nature collection. For us this is part of our school day and we do try to get out every week, but even making one weekend a month a goal to go on a nature walk together as a family can be an amazing addition to your family life! Some of our favorite local spots to explore include Merrill Creek Reservoir, Trexler Game Preserve, Lake Nockamixon, and Jacobsburg State Park.
Have your kids make a meal for the family.
My 10 year old has gotten to be very helpful and responsible and we often put him in charge of making lunches before an outing. If your child likes to cook they may get more involved in helping in the kitchen.
Some mornings of homeschool we just feel like scrapping everything and baking cookies! And that is totally a learning opportunity in my mind! Maybe surprise your kids with an after-school baking session, followed by reading aloud one of the books you’ve enjoyed together and eating cookies! This is a great weekend activity if weekdays are too crazy with school activities and homework. The kids learn so much about measuring, doubling recipes, and kitchen safety by helping out.
Errands can be learning moments too!
When we run errands we talk a lot about money, what’s a good price for certain items, what is worth spending our money on, and learning to read the price stickers at the grocery store. On your next trip to Wegmans have your kids compare boxes of cereal or their favorite snack by reading the price-per-ounce labels! My kids were surprised to see that the store brand yogurt wasn’t the cheapest compared to an organic brand we really like when we looked beyond just the price tag. Bulk foods is another great way for the kids to do math and learn about measuring and weight! Shopping can be for learning!
Grow food together.
We spend a lot fo time out in our garden in the warmer months, and my kids really enjoy learning about how to sow the seeds, take care of our plants, and watching our food grow right before our eyes. The best is wandering into the backyard to pick some fresh tomatoes or berries for a snack.
Travel is for learning!
Our kids missed a week of “school” this winter but we were learning all the while exploring the National Parks and historical sites of Arizona.
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